IRONWOOD — The Western Upper Peninsula Trail Association was recognized by the city commission Monday as a nonprofit organization for the purpose of obtaining charitable gaming licenses.
Representatives of WUPTA, an off-road group, spoke to the commission about the purpose of the organization and its membership drive efforts.
“We want to work with businesses and landowners,” said WUPTA president Ross Kolesar.
The club has two safety instructors and is involved with similar organizations in Ontonagon and Iron County, Wis.
“We’ve done a lot in 11 months,” Kolesar said.
City commissioner Rick Semo said the most important part of the club should be its work in educating children about off-road vehicle safety.
Club vice-president Bruce Vuorenmaa noted all-terrain vehicles and ORVs can operate “...so many more months of the year than snowmobiles.”
A goal is to work on Trail 2 from Ironwood to Wakefield and the connecting city routes.
Skip Schulz, of the MI-TRALE organization, said an ORV trail across the U.P. is nearing reality, with this end a key piece of the system that would connect with Wisconsin. “We’re getting close; we’re getting really close,” he told the city commission.
Schulz said ORV riding is growing, unlike some other sports, and a trail from Ironwood to Sault Ste. Marie is the ultimate goal.
“We have Ironwood, Bessemer and Wakefield left and we support this new club,” he said.
City manager Scott Erickson said the fact that the city allows the machines to travel from the ATV owners’ houses to the main trails was a “big step in the right direction.”
WUPTA members said they plan on becoming involved in community events, such as Festival Ironwood, throughout the year.